$450,000 worth of cocaine seized from wheelchair wheels at JFK airport, customs officials say


A traveler at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York has been arrested after $450,000 worth of cocaine was found hidden in the wheels of her wheelchair.

The traveler arrived in New York from the Dominican Republic on Nov. 10, according to a news release from U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Officers noticed that the wheels of her wheelchair were not turning and x-rayed the wheelchair.

They discovered a white powder, which later tested positive for cocaine in all four wheels, the press release said. It involved a total of 28 pounds of cocaine with an estimated street value of approximately $450,000.

The traveler was arrested for importing a controlled substance and handed over to Homeland Security investigations, according to the news release. She now faces federal drug trafficking charges.

“CBP remains steadfast and committed to working with its partners to identify the transnational criminal networks responsible for bringing these deadly drugs into our neighborhoods.” said Francis J. Russo, director of field operations for New York Customs and Border Protection, in the press release.

“CBP’s mission is to protect borders and ports of entry 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, to prevent these dangerous drugs from potentially killing our family, friends, and neighbors.”

A total of 24,538 overdose deaths were attributed to cocaine in 2021, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


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